A wifi system that will allow surf life savers to send alerts to mobile phones to keep beachgoers safe will be rolled out across all Queensland beaches in time for summer.
Assistant Tourism Industry Development Minister Meaghan Scanlon said Life-Fi, a portable self-contained wireless network, was a game changing product that equipped lifesavers with the tools they needed to communicate directly with beachgoers.
“This is a great win for the Gold Coast,” she said.
“By funding this initiative through our $34 million Connecting with Asia strategy we’re bringing this tool to life just in time for the tourism industry’s busiest season.”
Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said Life-Fi would make Queensland beaches appeal to more tourists.
“The research shows that two of Queensland tourism’s biggest selling points are its beaches and its reputation as a safe place to visit,” she said.
“There is no doubt this system will save lives.
“If we can make people feel safe, we know we’ll lure more people to the beach – this is a great outcome for our tourism industry.”
Ms Jones said Life-fi had already been trialled at Mooloolaba Surf Life Saving Club, with great effect.
“We want to give Queensland lifesavers the cutting-edge technology they need to make our beaches the safest in the world,” she said.
“That’s why 10 surf lifesaving clubs will receive Life-Fi later this year, with a further four mobile devices moving along the coast as needed.”
SLSQ chief executive officer John Brennan OAM thanked the Queensland Government for its vital support, saying Life-Fi would play a key role in protecting both international and domestic beachgoers this summer.
“For us, the benefits of Life-Fi are two-fold; it’s a great way to encourage all swimmers to stay between the flags, but it’s also a wonderful platform to provide live information on conditions and safety tips, particularly to international tourists in their own language,” he said.
“It’s not uncommon to see international beachgoers who don’t speak English and who don’t have a lot of experience in the surf, and it can be a really challenging situation for our lifesavers and lifeguards.
“Even trying to communicate simple messages such as ‘swim between the flags’ or ‘watch out for that rip’ can be almost impossible at times when you don’t speak the same language.
“We can use Life-Fi to educate and engage with all beachgoers, be it international or domestic, and that could literally mean the difference between a drowning and a positive outcome in the right circumstances.”
Minister for Innovation and Tourism Industry Development and Minister for the Commonwealth Games
The Honourable Kate Jones